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Sunday, March 19, 2023

2023 Ford Maverick XL – The Jalopnik Assessment

Life is filled with conflicts. I like automobiles and bikes, however I additionally care in regards to the setting. I stay in a home and have numerous initiatives, so I discover having a pickup truck round to be fairly helpful, however proudly owning a full-size truck appeared wasteful. That’s what makes the economical, sensible Ford Maverick so nice. It nearly appears tailored for folks like me.

The Maverick is tiny by truck requirements, nevertheless it’s sufficiently big to do the overwhelming majority of duties I’d want a truck for, like hauling motorbike elements or going to the native Dwelling Depot. Plus, it’s sufficiently small to drive and park simply in a metropolis like Los Angeles.

Full Disclosure: Ford wished me to drive a base mannequin Maverick so badly that one appeared at my home for every week with a full tank of gasoline. That is fairly customary process for evaluate automobiles within the automotive business and I did, in reality, need to return the lil dude on the finish of my evaluate interval.

Side view of a blue 2023 Ford Maverick XL

Picture: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Really, the bottom Maverick is the star of the lineup. It comes outfitted with a 2.5-liter hybrid drivetrain that gives up 162 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. These figures aren’t going to blow anybody’s doorways off, however EPA gas financial system scores of 40 mpg metropolis, 33 mpg freeway and 37 mpg mixed makes it a compelling choice. The opposite obtainable engine is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder which makes a extra strong 250 hp and 277 lb-ft on the expense of extra noise and significantly worse mileage (23 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway and 25 mpg mixed). Sadly, if you need all-wheel drive, the turbo-four is your solely choice.

The hybrid drivetrain is paired with a continuously variable transmission, which makes it not so great for towing (2,000 pounds max). The EcoBoost motor comes with a conventional eight-speed automatic and is available with a towing package that doubles the capacity to 4,000 pounds. Payload capacity is 1,500 pounds for both versions, which is good, but if towing is a real priority, you’re likely better off buying a bigger truck.

Steel wheels as equipped to a 2023 Ford Maverick XL truck.

Photo: Kyle Hyatt

My test vehicle is a bottom-of-the-line XL mode, equipped with the 2.0-liter turbo motor and a couple of basic options like a sunroof, a sliding rear window, a tow hitch and a spray-in bedliner. Other than that, this li’l guy is basic. When was the last time you had to start a brand new car with a traditional key?

The power from my 2.0-liter example is fine, though the way it’s delivered is a little jerky and peaky. The engine sounds like a bowling alley full of angry bees, and that noise is projected directly into the cabin, thanks to the lack of sound deadening.

The Maverick drives a lot more like a car than a truck, which makes sense. It uses a unibody design with a light payload capacity which means the ride quality, even when unladen, is pretty good. It’s not plush, per se, but the Maverick is certainly good enough to drive all day without feeling like your spine is going to jettison through the top of your skull. The Maverick’s handling is also relatively car-like, with light steering and predictable handling characteristics.

The bed, shown with lowered tailgate, of the 2023 Ford Maverick XL.

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

As far as doing “truck stuff,” the Maverick is totally up to most tasks. My wife and I can fill the back with soil for her garden and we appreciate the relatively low load height. Packing the back near-to-bursting with cardboard, yard debris and other crud for a run to the local dump is successful, too, and the guy at the pay station thinks the Maverick is cool. One annoying thing about this experience, though, is that due to the Maverick’s short bed, I have to load stuff with the tailgate down and strap it in. That’s fine most of the time, but this means the backup camera is useless because it’s mounted near the latch on the tailgate. I’d rather see this camera housed down by the license plate, but that’s a small criticism.

With its starting price of $23,690 including $1,495 for destination, the Maverick is a cheap truck, and it feels like it in many ways. The materials used in the cabin aren’t what anyone would call high quality, and they smell vaguely like a mix of high school locker room and Harbor Freight. The seats are covered in fabric of some kind – I wouldn’t stretch to call this cloth, necessarily – but they seem like they’ll be hard-wearing and are reasonably comfortable, and unlike vinyl upholstery, it won’t burn you in the summer.

The interior of the 2023 Ford Maverick XL.

Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

One thing I very much appreciate about the Maverick’s interior is how Ford’s engineers and designers found ways to add function and practicality to the vehicle without adding cost. There are cubbies, pockets and slots all over the cabin for your phone, your wallet and whatever else you can think up. With a truck, you can never have too much storage.

As to tech, aside from the lack of creature comforts due to my tester being a base-spec truck, the Maverick does okay. Ford includes an 8-inch center touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and while the six-speaker stereo system isn’t going to win any awards, for what the Maverick costs, it’s completely adequate.

The ignition switch of the 2023 Ford Maverick with key inserted

It starts with an actual key!
Photo: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

Driver assistance tech is sparse, but Ford’s Co-Pilot360 advanced driver assistance suite is available as a $650 option, though it’ll only get you blind-spot warning, lane-keep assist and driver alerts with that. Adaptive cruise control isn’t available until you step up to the $29,950 Lariat, and even then, it’s a $4,010 option because it’s bundled with a luxury package.

My test vehicle is a little more expensive than a base truck, with a sticker price of $26,405 (also including destination), owing mostly to the addition of the turbo motor and all-wheel drive. There isn’t a lot of competition in this market segment right now, with the Hyundai Santa Cruz being the one different recreation on the town, albeit with barely much less practicality and a barely increased beginning value, however significantly better customary gear.

The shift knob and cup holder of the 2023 Ford Maverick XL

Picture: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

The Maverick is the sort of truck folks have wished for the reason that final Ford Ranger disappeared. It’s low-cost, sensible transportation from an organization that is aware of the right way to make actually nice vans. It’s additionally a automobile that’s greatest in its most simple kind. The more cash you spend on it, the much less sense a Maverick makes.

Ford’s littlest pickup meets its transient of being an inexpensive, environment friendly truck for individuals who don’t repeatedly have to tow massive RVs or boats or load the mattress down with enormous a great deal of rock or luggage of cement. It’s 100% of the truck that 90 p.c of truck patrons really need.

The rear three-quarter view of the 2023 Ford Maverick XL in blue.

Picture: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine of the 2023 Ford Maverick XL.

Picture: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

The view from the open driver's door on a 2023 Ford Maverick XL truck.

Picture: Kyle Hyatt/Jalopnik

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